CHAPEL HILL N.C. (WNCN) – Parents of students who attend East Chapel Hill High School are speaking out after another fight broke out between students at the school on Thursday morning.
According to officials with Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools, a group of three to six female students were talking in the hallway at the school when a fight broke out.
An email sent to parents from East Chapel Hill High School interim principal Aaron Acome said several minutes went by before the students could be safely separated. And even that was handled with the assistance of Chapel Hill police.
Chapel Hill police said they had at least one school resource officer at the school at the time of the fight, and additional police officers responded along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
After the initial fight between students inside the school, another fight broke out outside and officials said a family member of one of the students involved in the fight assaulted a Chapel Hill Police Officer.
Acome said in an email to parents that there would be an increased police presence at the school on Friday and that the students involved in the fight would not be on campus on Friday.
Amanda Kolman has a son who attends East Chapel Hill High School.
“I have a lot of concerns about what’s happening at the school,” Kolman said.
Kolman showed CBS 17 emails she has received from the district that talk about four different altercations that have happened at the school since October.
On October 20, the school principal sent an email to parents that said three students were involved in an altercation near the front entrance.
On February 16, Acome told parents in an email that at 11:25 a.m. there was an altercation between students and teachers, that saw administrators, security monitors and the school resource officer work to de-escalate the situation.
On March 3, a small group of students got into an altercation, which the district said stemmed from an ongoing dispute that began outside the school, according to a school email.
During this altercation, one of the students used pepper spray, and as a result, several other students in the hallway were treated or observed by the school nurse.
In one of the emails sent to parents on Thursday, Acome said that students and staff have said they are in “crisis.”
“Sometimes it’s with a look, sometimes it’s with their words, and sometimes it’s with their actions,” Acome said in the email. “Today we saw all of that and more.”
Acome also said that it tends to be some of the same students involved in these altercations.
CBS 17 asked CHCCS officials on Friday what they plan to do to address this problem.
No one was available to talk on camera on Friday, but a district spokesperson said over the phone they are addressing it now with short-term solutions that include increasing police presence at the school and taking disciplinary action against the students, although district officials did not specify what that action is.
The district spokesperson said they are also working on long-term solutions that include looking at restorative practices.
But some parents such as Kolman are calling for more transparency from the school and for more to be done to address this problem.
“They have a knee-jerk reaction of saying more police will be there the next day, what about the day before and what about proactively trying to head off the violence that has been escalating?” Kolman asked.